In search of global domination
Okay, so there have been players from the four corners of the Earth (and outer space if you count Oak), who’ve played for or been with the Raptors.
There’ve been guys who have contributed greatly (see Calderon, Jose), some who’ve been oddities (we give you Bateer, Mengke) and those who have really made no impact whatsoever on the court (Gangster, The).
They’ve had Europeans and South Americans and Asians and now maybe a new area’s on the horizon: The Philippines.
Check out this story that was brought to my attention yesterday.
Say one thing for Jim Kelly, he is world renowned and he’s big in Filipino basketball circles. Not that it’s likely to yield any, you know, players or anything but it should keep the Raptors popular over there.
Now, when they announce the fully-funded training centre to develop young Canadian basketball talent, we’ll be even more impressed.
Oops, I have to correct a mistake here the other day.
Seems RaptorsTV will be showing the four home pre-season games and the big tilt in Edmonton against Denver. And, if the past is prelude, somewhere on a satellite the games in Los Angeles will get on the tube, making it seven of the eight available for viewers.
So, yes, you can see delightful NBA pre-season action if you subscribe to the network.
And anything on there is better than another Miami-New York playoff game.
My humblest apologies.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Candace Parker struts her stuff in high school.|
A familiar name checks in from the mail:
Q: To hear that Lisa Leslie makes around $75,000 a year, and then to have someone like Marbury make around $20 mil a year is so wrong it hurts. Obviously the WNBA is not bringing in anywhere near the same amount of revenue that the NBA does. Do you imagine that somewhere, far down the line, the WNBA will ever come anywhere near the popularity of the NBA? If so, what would it take to get there? 100 players just like Candace Parker?
Amanda F, Barrie
A: Unfortunately, I can’t.
The things that drive the NBA’s economic engine – globalization, marketing, television – just don’t exist on the same scale for the WNBA and I can’t see it changing dramatically in the foreseeable future.
To be sure, the emergence of Candace Parker as the game’s great young player has helped – anecdotally I’ve had a bunch more questions and comments about the WNBA this year than I ever have and I think it’s the Parker Effect – but even 100 of her wouldn’t do the trick, I’m afraid.
Sucks, but it’s the way of the world.
Speaking of the WNBA, it’s playoff time starting this week, in case you’re starved for actual basketball competition.
I’m not sure who can see what networks there but the Canadian content in the Indy-Detroit series is significant with Toronto’s Tammy Sutton-Brown having an excellent season with the Fever. Toss in Kim Smith in Sacramento and Kelly Schumacher in Detroit and there are three Canadian women in the WNBA playoffs. And that’s not too bad.
Check out this Q and A with Tammy from Indy’s website where she touches on her play, and her Canadianism.
Back to yesterday for a minute.
Did the McCown radio show and one of the topics of discussion – this being Canada and it being September 2008 and all – was – ta da! – hockey at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the role Wayne Gretzky would have with the team.
Forget what we said about that – I’m sure the topic will be raised daily between now and the start of the Games (or at least until Mats Sundin makes some decision) – but the role of the most iconic Canadian in team sports is an interesting one when it’s put in the basketball context.
As regular readers – or at least people who read here yesterday – will know, I’m a big proponent of some sort of College of Elders or Advisory Board or something like that – being put in place to oversee the national senior men’s program.
And there’s one guy they must get and that’s Steve Nash.
I know the folks at Canada Basketball have reached out to him several times already and he’s been listening.
His role? I see him as the face of the team, a de facto GM who cajoles players into taking part, does a couple of corporate things to help raise money and awareness and does some media to spread the word.
The team – and it’s only a part of what Canada Basketball does – needs a boost and Nash is the one to provide it.
It’s never too late to start enhancing the profile of the team, maybe so fans can follow players in their European leagues this year and this would be one big step to take.
And another dip into the mail:
Q: Doug, long-time reader, first time question.
Given his recent injuries and the like, J.O. has been... some would say, inconsistent (compared to previous years of 20 and at or near 10) performance would you find it far-fetched if off to a slow (or the aforementioned inconsistent) start, that J.O would come off of the bench as part of the second unit?
Keep up the perpetually sagacious columns. Your blog will be bookmarked on the ol' iPhone until you're past you're prime *cough Olajuwon cough*.
Michael W, Toronto
A: There are those who would argue that the prime has come and gone. But I digress.
I cannot see a way that O’Neal doesn’t start. Injuries, of course, might have something to do with it but that’s the only way that happens.
I know they always say players determine the playing time but there is no way he doesn’t start any game he dresses for.
Guess we should start thinking about putting some context into what went on around the NBA this summer, shouldn’t we? After all, with perhaps the exception of Ben Gordon in Chicago, I think all the big moves that were going to be made have been made and teams are pretty much ready to hit the court.
Even the Zach Randolph to Memphis talked has – thankfully for the Grizzlies – died a slow and painless death so I’m not sure there’s a big deal out there still to be made.
That's going to make the next couple of weeks really, really uneventful. I'm sure there'll be stories about this guy or that guy signing with this team or that team but, really, no one signed now is going to have a guaranteed contract and most will just be live bodies for training camp. Teams are pretty set right now, moves at this time are all window dressing.
Q: I was wondering, hypothetically if there was a proposal from New Jersey that would have Carter returning to Toronto(in a deal that would not include Bosh, JO, or Jose), do you think Colangelo would hesitate because of the history or would he hope that the fans would understand that Carter could be the last piece this team needs to contend with Boston?
Mark R, Toronto
A: Not going to happen, will never, ever even be discussed. Forget it. That ship has sailed. The time has come and gone.
I don’t even imagine, given the past and Carter’s contract, that Bryan would even pick up the phone if that was the discussion.